Longstrider's Blog

04 Oct 2021


Coins-United States | Longstrider

At the risk of boring people with my articles on Peace Dollar VAMs in general and extra hair specifically, I am writing today on another one. The 1923 VAM 1AA is commonly referred to as an Extra Hair Elite 30 Peace Dollar VAM. I can’t help myself. This is an amazing example of one and I would like to share it with you.

This example I have happens to be a beautifully struck coin. It has a great deal of cartwheel luster with the beginning of toning along the edge. It has been graded and attributed by ANACS as an MS 63.

This VAM was discovered by Dr. David Close in 2004. It consists of diagonal die break or breaks in Miss Liberty’s hair in the back and next to the horizontal hair strands. Sort of in the pony tail area if I may say that. These die breaks are present in raised areas on the coin. Like most Elite 30 coins, these breaks are able to be seen with the naked eye. This fact is why I enjoy collecting Elite 30 and Top 50 Peace Dollars.

A die crack will produce a thin line of raised metal in a coin. This, in itself, is not recognized as a VAM. If it develops into a die break, that is a different story. A die break is defined as a die that chunks of metal have fallen out or when the die splits. A die break must be visible with the naked eye. This makes the Elite 30 and Top 50 Peace Dollars so attractive to me.

The 1923 VAM 1AA has the following hub pairing: II 1--B2a.

This means that the obverse hub used was a type II. This hub was used on some 1922 P,D,S as well as some 1922 proofs and all 1923 to 1928 coins. This was the “basic” design type. The 1 is the order the mint used to produce coins this year. The reverse hub, B2a, means it also is the “basic” design type. It features three peaks in the mountain range, three rays below “ONE”, and six rays below the Eagle’s tail feathers. The Olive branch is connected to the Eagles foot.

This coin also is rated as an I-3 R-6. The meaning of this code is that the coin has an overall interest level of 3 or a significant die variety with general interest to VAM collectors. The R-6 means that this VAM has a distinction of being Very Rare. This means there are only several hundred examples “in the wild”. The “a” is again the order the mint was issued to mint the coins for this year, 1923. The Interest and Rarity numbers can change as more coins are found.

I hope the reader has a small look into the world of a VAM collector. One can keep it simple or dive into the minute elements of a given Peace Dollar. Thank you.


VAMWorld 2.0


A Guide Book of Peace Dollars 3rd Edition----Roger W. Burdette

Encyclopedia of Morgan & Peace Dollars 4th Edition---Leroy C. Van Allen & George Mallis




Level 4

Excellent info and especially the pic. Of all the Vams the extra hair has always been the hardest to get a handle on. I wont have a problem with it in the future. Thanks for sharing your experience with us.


Level 6

You are acquiring a nice collection. Not boring


Level 5

Great VAM. Thanks for sharing.

Long Beard

Level 5

Thanks for clarifying things, the VAM's always confuse me. I noticed a die crack from the neck through the "T" as well. Is that also a VAM 1 diagnostic?


Level 6

I always enjoy reading about your VAM's! You have an amazing collection indeed! ; )


Level 5

Nice find!


Level 5

Very nice coin. I never got into Vam's but wish i had at a younger age. Could of probably cherry picked quite a few back in the day? Nice coin and interesting topic.

It's Mokie

Level 6

Wonderful Longstrider, I love to read about your latest acquisitions. Just remember me in your will. LOL


Level 7

I could see that with my loop and a book of Vams. Finding them and not knowing were to look would be very hard. A great job on the coin. I know the 1922 and the 1923 have many. Great research on these. It takes time. I think I will read it again.! Thank for sharing your knowledge. You are the Vam man !!!!

AC coin$

Level 6

You are looking now at details others do not see . Beautiful set good eyes.

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